Aquatic Plant Diseases: Early Signs, Prevention and Cure:

Growing a planted aquarium is challenging. Planted tanks are very rewarding if you take good care of them. Time & commitment are needed for keeping your plants healthy. Plants need artificial lights & space for growth. In addition, they need carbon dioxide & nutrition for proper growth.

In this post, you will learn: how to prevent, diagnose & cure your aquatic plants.


What are the symptoms of plant diseases?

  1. Aquatic plants alter its color, and often leaves turn yellow.
  2. Leaf blades of the aquatic plants get rotten & damaged.
  3. The plant's root spoils.
  4. Aquatic plants do not grow anymore & start dying.


What are the causes of aquatic plant illnesses?

  1. Lower or higher lighting
  2. Temperature is not ideal for the specific plant
  3. Wrong soil / substrate for the specific plant.
  4. Aquarium filters are not efficient in cleaning
  5. Bad water quality.
  6. Tank mates are eating plants.
  7. Improper management of the aquarium.
  8. Insufficient CO2 & fertilizers

Aquatic Plant Diseases: Early Symptoms, Prevent & Fix
Aquatic Plant Diseases: Early Symptoms, Prevent & Fix

Problems with aquatic plants:

Below you can find the common problems with aquatic plants & its symptoms. Also, we have provided method for fixing plants diseases:

  • Why aquatic plants do not grow:

Aquatic plants do not grow if the aquarium has less CO2 or in case the water balance is disturbed like water PH is not in the ideal range. If you choose small soil that does not allow air to pass through it, then it affects the growth of aquatic plants. If you add extra CO2 or keep fish (who exhale CO2), then there will be a surplus of CO2 in the water. If there is a problem with the water PH, then you can shift the plant to a new aquarium. If you have chosen the wrong soil for your plant, then I would advise putting crushed stone or pebbles on the base of the aquarium.

  • Some parts of the aquatic plant die, & the leaf falls off:

If some parts of your aquatic plant die, & the leaf falls off then it can be due to shortage of phosphorus.

It is advised to add certain fertilizers. You can buy fertilizers from the fish shop.


  • Small leaf of the plant has excess lengthy internodes, aquatic plants turn pale with thin stems, leaves of the lower branches of the aquatic plant falls off:

It could be because your plants are not receiving enough light.

It is recommended to choose the right temperature & provide sufficient lights for the plants. Also, turn on the light for longer periods or use a timer that automatically turns on & off the lights. Ensure that your aquarium is placed in a lit room, which receives natural sunlight.

Ensure that the lower branches also receive light by pruning the upper branches because leaves require light for photosynthesis.


  • The upper part of the aquatic plant’s height increases:

The reason behind the rise of the upper part of the plant’s height is enhanced radiation from the red spectrum of the lights.

It is recommended to setup your aquarium lights near the aquarium lid or choose lower intensity lights.


  • Damage to the aquatic plant Leaves, healthy roots & small stem:

If your soil condition is dense, then you might face these problems.

Make sure you siphon the aquarium bottom. Keep it loose & add gravels or pebbles for diluting it.


  • Appearance of lime covering on the aquatic plant leaves:

The reason behind the lime covering on the aquatic plant leaves is due to insufficient CO2.

Add CO2 in the water or keep fish that exhale CO2.


  • Aquarium plant leaves are very small:

The reason behind very tiny leaves of the aquatic plant is due to shortage of nutrition or enhanced lights.

Lower the artificial light timing, or keep lower intensity lights. Also, add extra nutrition in the water.


  • Leaves of aquatic plants change its colour to red or yellow:

The reason behind turning aquatic plant leaves to red or yellow color is insufficient sulphur or nitrogen.

Add specific nutrition in the water to solve this problem.


  • Your plant leaf edges turn yellow:

Aquatic plant leaf edges turn yellow because of insufficient calcium.

Offer carbonate, shells of mollusks, ready mix for providing nutrition to the aquatic plants.


  • Yellow spots show b/w the veins of the leaf:

The reason behind the appearance of yellow spots between the veins of the leaf is the shortage of magnesium.

It is advised to put MgSO4 in the fish tank.


  • Plant has yellow leaves & it becomes vitreous:

Due to shortage of iron, the leaves of the plant turn yellow & it becomes vitreous.

Addition of ferrous iron will solve this problem. However, do not add more than 0.1 mg of ferrous iron per one litre of water.


  • The leaves of the plant turn yellow & the veins are still green:

It could be because of the shortage of magnesium & abundance of iron.

Make a mix of nutrition with magnesium & iron. Magnesium helps the plant in breathing & photosynthesis.


  • Leaves of the plant begin fading at the edges & yellow spots are visible on the surface:

The problem could develop due to the shortage of potassium.

It is advised to make a solution of potassium sulphate, mix it with purified water & boil it, then introduce a little amount of the mixture to your fish tank.


How to prevent aquatic plants from diseases?

  1. Make sure you provide the ideal conditions to your aquatic plants to prevent them from getting sick.
  2. Frequently siphon the soil & change water partially for purification.
  3. If your plant has damaged parts, then quickly cut them & take them out.
  4. Keep your fish tank in a well-lit room.
  5. Quarantine plants before adding them to the main aquarium because they might carry diseases.
  6. Make sure you buy healthy aquatic plants from best sellers.
  7. Keep water conditions in the ideal range like water temperature, hardness & pH.

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